Have you ever wondered what a mammoth actually tastes like?
In theory, you might soon find out for yourself. Because: An Australian food company made a primitive meatball from the meat of a long-extinct woolly mammoth.
Prehistoric meatballs were produced by the Vow Company. Vow biopsies from extinct – or non-traditional – animals to produce better, more sustainable meat.
“We’re constantly looking for unique cells, or groups of cells, that inspire us to create great new products and even better dining experiences,” the company’s website explains.
For her latest meat project, Vow decided to resurrect the woolly mammoth, which went nearly 10,000 years ago: “We chose the woolly mammoth because it’s a symbol of biodiversity loss and climate change.” , says Vow co-founder Tim Noakesmith, who, along with Professor Ernst Wolfitang of the University of Queensland’s Australian Institute of Nanotechnology, has “resurrected” the shaggy mushroom in food form.
They don’t want to try a giant meatball
To create the long-dead meat, scientists used the DNA sequence of a mammoth — the muscle protein in mammoths — responsible for flavour. Then they filled in the missing genetic links with elephant DNA — the Ice Age animal’s closest living relatives.
By implanting this genetic formula into sheep stem cells, they were able to multiply and grow the 20 billion cells needed to create meat.
Unfortunately, no one knows how mammoth meat tasted: scientists are reluctant to try it, because the animal has long been extinct. “We haven’t seen this protein in thousands of years,” says Wolfitang. “So we have no idea how our immune system will react if we eat it.”
By the way: Vow does not use prehistoric proteins to play lord. They hope much more to be able to gradually revolutionize industrial meat production, which pollutes the environment with its emissions and resource demands. Because: Lab-grown meat, by contrast, requires far less land and water — and causes almost no emissions.